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| | |-+  In memoriam: Dr. Gregory Harold Terry (c. 1951-2007)
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Author Topic: In memoriam: Dr. Gregory Harold Terry (c. 1951-2007)  (Read 724 times)
Michelob
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« on: Oct 03, 2007, 01:10 AM »

Update on my friend Greg:

My friend Greg is getting a liver transplant some time soon, and would appreciate some prayers.

I haven't heard from Greg for several months, and tonight I found out why, when three members of his church parish came to my door with fliers about upcoming events there.  I recognized the name of the church, and asked if they knew him.  It took a moment, but they said, yes, they remembered him, he had been very active and one of the men had been in the adult Sunday school class with him ... and that he died about six months ago (April 26, according to the local paper's online obituary archive), not too long after I received my last phone call from him about the liver transplant. :cry:

I'm going to miss him.  I'll never forget his face or his voice, or his passion for social justice, and business ethics, and his desire to leave the world a better place for the generations to come.  He was "a real trooper", as it's said, a consummate survivor.  His first wife left him for dead and remarried while he was in the hospital seemingly dying from Wilson's disease, an uncommon condition that (in his case anyway) basically involves a build-up of copper inside the brain; and since copper does not belong in the brain, bad things happen.  His wife wasn't the only friend to leave him for dead during this crucial time, and even his surgeon told him that it was over, and that he should just give up, surrender to his fate, and die like a good loser.  As he told the story, he was lying there in his hospital bed, feeling alone and abandoned and without a shred of hope, and mulling over the words of the doctor, when he says he was visited by one of the famous phrases of the late Woody Hayes, the legendary Ohio State football coach who was active during Greg's teenage years:  "Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser."  (Coach Hayes may have taken that phrase or its sentiment from his own personal hero, Gen. Patton.)  And he said that that gave him the strength to not give up on himself even though it seemed that everyone else had.  This all happened back in Ohio, about ten years before I first met Greg at the End Zone sports bar in Huntsville where we had both gone to watch an OSU football game.  Needless to say, by the grace of God, he had made a full recovery, to the shock of everyone (and quite sadly, to the possible dismay of his ex-wife).  He truly was a walking miracle.  And, in an ironic twist of fate, he owed his life to both the University of Michigan and the University of Florida, where the medications and treatments that had saved and preserved his life had been developed.

He was a genius too, had a PhD in nuclear physics, but I remember him more for his big heart.  His big heart, and his passion for standing up for what he believed in sometimes caused friction with some of his employers, and it earned him some enemies too.  He eventually remarried, to a Bahamian woman, although this road had some speed bumps, including a local circuit judge who refused him a marriage license because he didn't approve of interracial marriages.  (This is Alabama, after all.  *Sigh.*)  Greg butted heads with this judge again over the years, and eventually with some research he collected enough evidence of the judge's history of racial prejudice and other (no pun intended) shady dealings, and he presented it to the right people and managed to get the judge defrocked, or whatever the term is for getting kicked out by the state Bar Association; anyway, the man no longer is a judge.  One of Greg's last projects was a retinal scanner (that's the eyes) he had developed, that was capable of detecting the early signs of Wilson's disease in children, and in his spare time he had been working on advocating it, hoping that it would some day become part of the childrens' routine ocular exams, like the glaucoma tests -- I instantly thought of him when I saw The Pursuit of Happyness last year.

Greg, if these words can reach you where you are now ... I feel like I just barely knew you from those years of Saturdays spent together watching the Buckeyes, but you taught me so much about faith, and perseverance, and courage under fire, and standing up for what's right.  No words of mine could ever capture the man you were, or the things you did to try to leave the world in a little better shape than you found it in.  I'll never forget you, and game days just aren't the same without you there at the table, although now I know you're up there watching them on the Biggest Screen with Woody and Bo.  I don't plan to come and join you there any time soon, but when that day comes, could you save me a seat?

Quote from: Words by Paul Craft - they're copyrighted so I'm probably not supposed to do this, but I really like them and want to share them *pout*

Bring on my brothers who've gone on before
and all of my sisters who've knocked on your door
and all the departed dear loved ones of mine...
Stick 'em up front in the offensive line.

Drop-kick me, Jesus, through the goalposts of life,
End over end, neither left nor the right,
Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights.
Drop-kick me, Jesus, through the goalposts of life.

Make me, O make me, Lord, more than I am.
Make me a piece in your master game plan.
Free from the tempest far down below...
I've got the will, Lord, but you've got the toe.


1976 Screen Gems-EMI Music Inc. and Black Sheep Music
All rights controlled and administered by Screen Gems-EMI Music Inc.
Used without permission, so I hope the copyright holders will forgive me for this breach.



Jesus, help me to learn from Greg's example, and to live my life for others rather than just for myself, so that I can leave a legacy of hope for those who come after me, like he did.

Godspeed, Greg, and farewell to you, my friend.
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avatar by Blondielass
Tacita
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« Reply #1 on: Oct 03, 2007, 11:44 AM »

*huggles Mich*  I'm sorry to hear about this, and thank you for sharing the story.  *huggles*
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Rome
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« Reply #2 on: Oct 04, 2007, 06:29 AM »

That's very touching Mich, thank you for sharing.
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